A Song A Day in May: 80s Nuclear War Anxiety

The Music I listened to and loved in the 80s had an influence on me, it’s undeniable. Along with the books I read, the television shows and movies I watched, the people I met, they all helped shape create the foundation of who I am today. Would I be me today if I hadn’t seen “The Day After” at a young age and had a near-obsession level of paranoia over my skin getting peeled off in a nuclear blast? Who’s to say? Did the artists of the music I listen to and their speaking out on political and social matters shape me? Absolutely.
I stumbled across Stereogum‘s list of 80s songs about nuclear war and it was nostalgia on full volume for me. Their list included songs I may not have realized at the time were as political as they were, but now with adult eyes and 30+ years of hindsight, I am grateful that they are. I hope you enjoy some of them as much as I do.
Men At Work – “It’s A Mistake” (1983)
“Is it on then? Are we on the brink?” Colin Hay sings at the beginning of “It’s A Mistake.” Both the song and its video depict the footsoldiers on the ground level of this whole mess, speaking to their leaders and asking, in effect, when all this Cold War tension was going to finally burst and spill over into total conflict. At the end of the video, a commander accidentally puts his cigarette out on a trigger button instead of in his ashtray, and the other military men all react by plugging their ears and waiting for what comes next.

SOURCE: Stereogum 80s Songs About Nuclear Anxiety

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